Houston city leaders vote to approve conservation districts set to preserve historic neighborhoods

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Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Houston has 6 new 'conservation districts' after city council vote
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The city council voted to approve the measure on Wednesday, allowing six specific areas in Houston to adopt unique development standards to preserve the historic look and feel of existing neighborhoods.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- New rules on what you can build and where in the city of Houston were set Wednesday after the city council voted to approve six new conservation districts.

It's easy to spot original homes being replaced by more modern and often bigger homes in some of the older neighborhoods around Houston. The creation of conservation districts would bring that process to a halt in specific areas of town to keep the feel and look of several neighborhoods intact.

The city council voted 13-4 to pass the measure, allowing six neighborhoods to adopt unique development standards, which city leaders say would use extensive input from the community and property owners.

The areas impacted include Independence Heights, Freedmen's Town, Acres Homes, Magnolia Park/Manchester, Pleasantville, and Piney Point.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Proposed 'conservation districts' aim to preserve historic Houston neighborhoods

There was some debate that property owners should be allowed to opt out of these conservation districts, but that ultimately failed.

The bottom line is these districts would be able to keep large, multi-story buildings out of areas where residents say those buildings really do not belong and allow sites that have historically been single-family neighborhoods to remain that way.

"You have industrial in the middle and high rise in the middle of the community. You lose the feel of the community. People need to know they can depend on one another, and if you go too high up, it takes the feel out of the community," Dr. Elmo Johnson, who lives in Freedmen's Town, said.

Roy McWilliams, who also resides in Freedmen's Town, said he used to get a breeze from his home's back window. "I don't get a breeze anymore - the high rise done took over," he said.

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